Chuck Landon: MU may earn a victory over WVU
Marshall doesn't compete with WVU on the football field anymore, right?
Uh, guess again.
It's true the Mountaineers declined to renew the seven-year series between West Virginia's two Football Bowl Subdivision schools after the last meeting in 2012. And, yes, there's no intrastate rivalry game in the foreseeable future.
But do Marshall and WVU still compete in football?
Just ask Hyleck Foster.
The running back/wideout from Gaffney (S.C.) High School, whose recruiting stock is sky-rocketing, gave Marshall a verbal commitment Saturday although Foster also had been offered a scholarship by WVU.
Foster visited both state schools on a weekend in April, touring WVU on April 20 and, then, visiting Marshall on April 21. He returned to Marshall last weekend for the Herd's Elite Camp and gave MU a commitment.
Count that as a Marshall victory over the Mountaineers because WVU did indeed offer Foster a scholarship, according to 24/7 Sports. Mountaineer wide receiver coach Lonnie Galloway was recruiting Foster, who appears to be a dynamic Tavon Austin-type slot receiver.
Foster also had scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, North Carolina (according to the Tar Heel Times website), Old Dominion, Charlotte, Eastern Michigan and, reportedly, Wake Forest.
His resume shows why.
While helping Gaffney High to the South Carolina AAAA Division I state championship in 2012, Foster had a pair of remarkable games. During a 35-17 win over Ashley Ridge, the elusive running back rushed for 300 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Then, in a 48-35 victory over Boiling Springs, Foster ran for 302 yards and five TDs on 32 carries.
For the season, Foster totaled 1,575 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns on 240 carries (6.6 yards per attempt). He also had 27 receptions for 204 yards and another score.
See why Marshall's football coaching staff is so ecstatic about his commitment?
Foster, who projects as a slot receiver, is the exact sort of prolific playmaker the Herd needs in its potent offense. The rising senior flashed that potential recently during the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 camp in York, S.C., which included 150 athletes by invitation only.
Rivals.com analyst Keith Niebuhr awarded Foster trophies for "Best Hands" and "Best Feet" in the camp.
Regarding his hands, Niebuhr wrote, "The 5-10, 173-pound Foster saw action at both running back and receiver, but probably did his best work as a pass catcher. His quickness off the line and solid route-running routinely got him separation. His hands did the rest. Of all the players on hand, he probably did the best job securing receptions."
Then, there was Foster's footwork.
"Foster was good at running back, receiver and on defense in the secondary," continued Niebuhr. "You can't make that transition as easily as he did without having great footwork. This is an outstanding young athlete whose best option may be as a receiver at the next level. His mind and feet always seem to be in sync."
Now, it's simply a matter of Marshall hanging onto him.
MORE RECRUITING: It was South Carolina day Saturday at Edwards Stadium. Besides Foster, Marshall also got a commitment from his former Gaffney High teammate Raheim Huskey.
The 6-2, 200-pound linebacker made 109 tackles (67 solo), averaging 7.3 stops per game. Huskey technically will be a transfer because he signed a letter of intent with Arizona Western junior college in February.
Huskey won't be eligible until 2014.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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